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Old 01-03-2012, 07:59 AM   #1
Studly Adventurer
FLICKIT's Avatar
Joined: Aug 2011
Location: Down-under Down-under
Oddometer: 881
Tasmania on a Dominator (AKA a noobs cheapo adventure)

This is my first decent trip and ride report so don't expect too much... I'll throw in some extra info at the start about my entry into adventure riding, it may be helpful to others getting started...

I'll start with a bit of back story and build up to the trip:
I started riding bikes when I was about 12, my first bike was an old clapped out KM90 payed for with paper run money, I had numerous odd old bikes through till I got my motorcycle license the day I turned 16, I was a daily road and dirt rider through till about 22, most my time was on road/trail bikes...

In 1993 I had a near new 1992 XT350, in a short period of time I had a couple of very close near misses with crazy drivers, the last time I was on the road a car went through a stop sign and I almost T-boned it, I clipped my knee on the rear bumper as I swerved around it... I gave up riding on the road after that...

Since 1993 I've only been riding offroad now and then, through the 90's I was riding a 1984 XR250 that I put a CBX250 electric start engine in... The last 10 years I've just been riding around my property on a postie bike (CT110), chinese pitbikes, and the last couple of years an XR100R, I have a few kilometers of tracks around the hills.... I'm not a serious or a good rider, just a hack...

I stumbled onto a Colebatch ride report early in 2011, it reignited my interest in riding big bikes, and got me thinking about maybe getting back on the road one day... I spent the next couple of months reading dozens of great ride reports, all very motivational... Ones that come to mind are Nathans and Nevs trips around Australia, great stuff...

I was turning 40 in May and since I haven't had a good adventure for quite a few years I decided to bite the bullet and get a road registered bike... I was reluctant to pour big money into a bike just in case I got back on the road and decided it wasn't for me... My goal was to get a bike sorted out and do a multiple day trip over the xmas/new year period... And eventually maybe ride around Australia if everything went well....

So... after lots of reading, and being a Honda fan, I settled on a Dominator, a nice classic bike with a good reputation... I couldn't find one locally, or anything else that sparked my interest, so I ended up buying one sight unseen and had it shipped down from Queensland to Tasmania, a 1992 model with 54,000km on the clock, it's basically stock with no modifications at all...

When it arrived I found it had a few issues: not pumping oil (damn lucky the first thing I did when I started it was crack the head oil feed tube to see if it had good oil pressure), it also had oil leaks and stripped threads on the valve cover, a fair bit of corrosion, lots of slogged out rubbers, stuffed fork seals and bushes, a couple of stuffed suspension bearings, dead battery, stuffed chain slider and broken chain guard... It basically just needed a good going over as you'd expect with any 20yo bike that's done a couple of laps of Australia... It took me a couple of months to clean it up and get it in a state where I thought it would be reliable...

It didn't cost me too much to clean it up, it was more time than money, I'm happy with the money I've put into it... I got it registered in mid October and off I went, I did about 6 day rides totaling a bit over 3000km, 80% or more of that was on dirt/gravel forestry roads and I was loving it! ... The best fun I've had in years!

A couple of pics of the old girl on day trips:

I was using all my old road riding gear, an old AGV helmet that's seen better days, old Dririder wax cotton pants that I ended up ripping the crutch out of on the first ride, and a Dririder all season jacket, not a bad jacket but it has no vents at all, it's like a sauna suit and the pockets fill with water when it rains... I didn't really have a $1000+ to pour into riding gear so I picked up a good condition second hand Rjays dakar helmet for $50 on Gumtree (I only have a $50 head), got some $50 ebay Pakistani Cordura pants that turned out to be a bit on the small side but they'll do for now, some new $100 MSR VX1-ATV boots which aren't bad for the money really, and some Rjays 100% waterproof gloves that aren't waterproof at all, lol... All up not the best gear, but adequate protection for now...

Preparing for the trip:
As the end of the year was approaching fast it was time to start getting gear together and prepping the bike for a decent trip... The main thing I had to do was sort out some luggage, I liked the idea of hard cases but they seemed too expensive for my cheap tastes... I ended up ordered some $60 Rjays soft panniers but when they arrived I wasn't too happy with them, the bags and racks went on the back burner for a couple of weeks while I thought about how I'd build the racks and such...

In between times I started getting the bike and other gear ready, put some new D606 tires on the bike and learned how to change tires myself... Got a $80 tent, $20 sleeping mat, I'll make do with my 20+yo sleeping bag even though it takes up a huge amount of room... I tinkered with soda-can metho stoves and decided that was good enough for now...

The week before xmas, While searching around here looking at pannier rack threads, I came across a thread about Bunnings selling Pelican 1550 copies for $65, I had a $100 Bunnings gift card so I went and grabbed 3 cases... I figured $195 wasn't to much to spend on 3 hard cases, I HAD to get a top case for my camera and such anyway...

I did a rush 2 day job making side racks and mounting the cases, I was a little worried about the case strength so I screwed a 9mm (3/8") MDF back plate into them, it all I had on hand, that added about 1kg to each 5kg case... All up the cases added a fair bit of weight to the bike... I attempted to keep the weight low and forward with most the weight on the passenger footpeg mount, I figured since they are slightly higher and behind the footpeg mount they shouldn't get in my way..

(Picks taken after the trip)

The racks are made from 20mm square tube steel with a bit of 25mm angle across the back bolted into a plate I welded to the tail light support frame... The mounting pucks are made from poly kitchen cutting board cut with a holesaw and there's a strip of 3mm x 50mm mild steel on the back between the puck mounts, I couldn't decide how big to make the alloy plates on the pucks, that's why they're different sizes.... The top mount on the side cases was a temporary job that turned out ok, 6mm thumb screws that go into a bit of tapped poly cutting board so they can break away fairly easily, and be replaced cheaply... The idea was to try the side cases and if I like them I'll replace the MDF and mild steel with aluminium to cut the weight down, + remake and rivit the top mount on... The top case is just bolted to the Dominators rack with some 50mm x 5mm alloy under the case to tie the side racks into the top... I added 4 handles to the top case for tie down points... All up the cases and racks cost me under $220 (+ odd steel and stuff I already had laying around)...

Part of my reason for wanting hard cases was so I could carry a 5L plastic fuel can safely... I really didn't like the idea of strapping a plastic fuel can to the side of the bike, I have visions of sliding down the road engulfed in a fireball, lol...

I spent a couple of days trying to pack everything, just as I thought I had it all sorted out I found other things I HAD to pack, in the end everything was just piled in with heavier stuff at the bottom front of the cases... I packed enough food for the whole trip but figured I'd probably buy lunch most days... The tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, and some cloths went in an old army bag strapped on top...

ANYWAY, on with the trip...

The bike ready to go, what a beast!:

I marked quite a few places on a Hema paper map that I wanted to see but my main goal was just to cover as much distance as I could, I didn't have a set route, just followed my nose and worked it out as I went, + look for areas to go back to explore better later... I mainly wanted to test myself and the bike, try to improve my stamina and ability, and get the hang of bush camping again...

I didn't bother with the highland lakes, Lake Pedder, or down south because I've been covering them with day trips...

For navigation and tracking I used an iphone 3gs with an app called Bitmap (loaded with 100k and 250k Tasmaps), mounted in a $15 ottabox in an old cheapo car phone holder, I wrapped rubber bands around for some added safety, lol...

Here's my whole route, I ended up doing 2268km, in 5.5 days:

A few taster pics to start it off:
(I was a bit slack and didn't get the camera out as often as I should, but I have quite a few photos)

And the only video I don't have to edit:

(there was no "No Vehicle" signs or anything so it must be ok)

Over the next few days I'll do a write up for each day and post the pics and videos.

All comments and suggestions will be welcomed
(just don't lay shit on the Mighty Dominator, lol)

FLICKIT screwed with this post 01-04-2012 at 04:40 PM
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